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SDYS is a leading advocate for the power of El Sistema-inspired music programs.

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is a leading member of the El Sistema community in the United States. Following the successful creation and growth of the Community Opus Project, SDYS often shares our stories and experiences with the local, national and international community. SDYS’ community programs are grounded in the principles of El Sistema. SDYS staff and Teaching Artists often host, meet with, and consult with other program managers and teaching artists in the field. The Community Opus Project has hosted visitors from all over the globe from Alaska to New Zealand, see our list of visitors below.

Former SDYS President and CEO Dalouge Smith is a founding member of El Sistema USA and an adviser for Sistema Global, founded by Glenn Thomas. During his 13 years with SDYS, Mr. Smith spoke at various El Sistema conferences and often contributed to the monthly newsletter The Ensemble. He was a speaker at the 2014 Take a Stand Symposium alongside Eric Booth, arts consultant and author, Dan Trahey (OrchKids), and Christine Witkowski (YOLA at HOLA). Watch the presentation on YouTube here.

In 2015, SDYS’ Community Teaching Artist Ruben Hernandez was invited to the National Take a Stand Festival’s International Teaching Faculty in the role of Percussion Specialist. He has returned to Take a Stand each season, including in 2018, to teach in this capacity.


National and International Visitors to the Community Opus Project:

Chino School District
Harmony Project Ventura at New West Symphony
Juneau, Alaska Music Matters (JAMM)
KidzNotes, Durham, NC
Longy Conservatory at  Bard College – MAT Program
Minnesota Opera
New Jersey Youth Symphony
Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi, New Zealand

Conversations and consultations with other national and international organizations:

Cincinnati Symphony
Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency
Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
M:X Miami
Mellon Foundation
Miami Music Project
Minnesota Opera
Sistema Colorado
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Ventura School District

San Diego Youth Symphony